Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Today was a difficult day. I recently posted about my stolen vehicle. It was not stolen from me, but rather, from George who periodically mows my lawn. Now, I like George. He told me he is recovering from a chemical addiction, and has been in jail, but he does a good job on my lawn. I believe in helping people get back on their feet, so I gave him the lawn work, I’ve lent him money (not expecting to get it back) and tried to help in other ways like lending him my truck. Unfortunately, he broke my trust.
I believe I’ve blogged about this recently, but for his birthday he found companionship. Sleeping at her apartment, she took the key to my truck and drove it across the border into Iowa (only a few miles) where she was pulled over and arrested. The truck was impounded, and yesterday, on Native American’s Day (Columbus Day to others) I tried to get it back. The bill was seventy-five dollars, but they could not release it until they received the forms from the police department. I called in the morning, and they contacted the police. By the time I called back in the afternoon, they still hadn’t been able to get through when they realized that it was a holiday. This morning, they had received the paperwork, and the bill came to $82.80. Yes, that’s right, a penalty was added because I didn’t pick it up yesterday when I couldn’t pick it up because it was a holiday.
The government sucks.
I should mention, George was not with me when I went to get the truck. See, George betrayed me. The first that I uncovered was when I discovered that he has no driver’s license. When I asked, he admitted this, but of course I just assumed that he had one. Doesn’t everybody? Why would he want a vehicle if he couldn’t legally drive it? Remind me when I sell it to insist on seeing a valid driver’s license. He wanted to go with me to get it, but of course, I couldn’t let him. How could I knowingly turn the keys over to somebody who cannot drive? It’s bad enough that I was unknowingly an accomplice to this crime, I certainly won’t do it knowingly. So I took a share ride to get the vehicle with the additional fee for not being allowed to pick it up yesterday.
Damn that bothers me.
The vehicle was a mess. I knew he was using it for his work, largely lawn work, so some of it was not a surprise, a lawn mower, rake, clothing. One of the back seats was folded down to accommodate the length of the lawn mower, but there was damage inside the vehicle (mostly aesthetic) and garbage. When I picked it up, before driving off, I threw out a few cans of beer, and gave it a cursory glance to see what else seemed off. The beer wasn’t open, but neither did I want it in the vehicle.
At home, I did a more thorough search. In the back I found an empty bottle of hard liquor. Confronted with it, George said it wasn’t his, and had to belong to his passengers. The problem is that, as the driver, it’s a moot point whose bottle it was. The simple fact is that driving with an open container, empty or otherwise, drunk or not, is illegal. Simply driving the truck back home exposed me to a moving violation.
I thought, to make things easier, I would put some things in bags in the front and back seat. The lawnmower was holding the back seat down, so it took some clearing just to be able to sit it back up. Under the seat, I found drug paraphernalia. This became a true moral crisis for me, since I do believe that drug use (not sales) should be legalized, but it is, nonetheless, against the law. Had the police did even a cursory search of the vehicle and they would have found it. Doing so would have changed the status from the vehicle being impounded to being confiscated. Again, George said it wasn’t his, but the vehicle was in his possession, so it was his responsibility even if it was his guests.
A reasonable adult should have known this, and an honest adult would have taken responsibility. So, I decided that I have to cut ties with him. When I told him that I would not give him the vehicle without him having a valid driver’s license, he suggested that the “solution” was for me to take off the license plates and sign the vehicle over to him. When I told him that wasn’t an option, he came back saying I could take him to his jobs. I told him I no longer wanted him to work on my lawn, and if he wants to buy the vehicle it has to be the full agreed upon amount in cash (not cash and services as we had earlier agreed).
I wanted to help him out, but I feel him trying to pull me down into his pit. It’s not easy cutting ties with people you had high hopes for, those who you wanted to see pull themselves up from their gutter, but sometimes it’s the best thing. In trying to help, I became an easy access to “loans” and resources. I fear that if I keep helping him, he’ll never learn to take care of himself. Hopefully this “tough love” will be of more benefit to him than I could be.